Solar panels are a tricky object to clean because they’re usually in hard-to-reach places. Typically, rain and snow can clean solar panels and get rid of any dust built-up there, but in certain situations, it can cause more harm than good. That is why it’s important to keep an eye on your solar panels because it is going to cost more to replace them than to clean them.
Remember, before cleaning any solar panels, check the manufacturers guide on what to do with your particular solar panels. Also, it might be safer to hire a professional if climbing onto the roof of a house is not what you want to do.
Does Rain Really Clean Solar Panels?
Research was conducted and it was found that solar panels only lost a 4.4 percent in their performance after a year’s worth of dust build-up. However, research also found that in places where there is less rain, individuals can experience up to a 20% reduction in performance.
This information can lead people to believe that climates where there is more rain can have better working solar panels after a year. It’s important to remember that it is not just dust people need to think about but also pollen, leaves, bird droppings, ash, and a film from smoke or smog. These are all things can may not be washed away by the rain.
Additionally, think about how your solar panels are lying down. If they are pretty flat, then they may accumulate more dust and dirt. Also, a downwind from a highway, farmland, or airport can bring along large amounts of dust that can get stuck on solar panels. Humid climates can produce moss on solar panels as well, so if it’s been rather humid, then check on your solar panels.
Ideally, keep an eye on your solar panels and notice if there are any changes in the energy consumption. If there is, then have a look at what to do to clean them down below.
Please remember that if you do not feel comfortable getting onto the roof of a building, then call a professional to come in to help. However, these are all cleaning methods you can perform yourself.
Hosing from the Ground
This all depends on whether your solar panels are too high off the ground. If you have reached the conclusion that there is only a simple accumulation of dust, then it can be removed in a simple manner. Use your hose and simply try to spray your solar panels from the ground, this can get rid of a lot of dust build-up.
Nevertheless, if you notice that you need to use a high-pressure hose attachment, then do not spray directly onto the solar panels. This can cause them to scratch, which in turn, can deplete the energy consumption that they are able to produce and consume.
In Cases of Heavier Build-Up
If there is heavier build-up on the solar panels, then grab some supplies and try to clean them yourself. All that is needed is a soft brush with a squeegee that can reach your solar panels from where you are.
A hose is also a good option, as well as a bucket filled with water and mild soap. Additionally, have a look at a home hardware store because they sometimes have biodegradable solar panel cleaning solutions.
Now, it’s time to clean. Fill up the bucket with clean water and a little bit of soap. Use the hose to rinse away any loose dirt from the solar panels. Afterwards, grab the scrubber and dip it into the bucket of water, take it to the solar panels, and begin to gently wipe. Once this is complete, rinse the solar panels with the hose a second time.
Whether there is another sponge for your scrubber, or you grab a dry squeegee, use it to dry the solar panels. Continue this process until you have cleaned your solar panels.
Remember, do not touch the sides, underside, or any cables. You do not want to damage your solar panels and their mechanisms while cleaning. Also, solar panels become very hot, so do not clean them in the middle of the day. Wash them either at dawn or dusk or on overcast days.
Should You Hire a Professional?
There are many reasons why someone would prefer hiring a professional than clean their own solar panels. It can be due to the height of the roof or their own physical limitations.
Also, buying additional cleaning supplies and then needing to store them can be troublesome as well. No matter what the reason is, sometimes hiring a professional can be the most worthwhile option.
The most obvious choice is to call the company that installed the solar panels and see if it offers a cleaning service. It likely has all the information about your solar panels like the roofing materials, square footage of the solar array, the roof pitch, and how your solar panels are laid out. This is all useful information for the company, so it can accurately price up how much a cleaning would cost.
However, if the company does not offer this service, then ask the team to refer you to someone else. The team should know another company that they can send all that roofing information to. This way, you can give it to another company and receive another accurate pricing for solar panel cleaning.
Whether or not you want to clean your solar panels yourself is up to you. It can be fairly simple to clean them, but if you have some limitations, then call the professionals in. Solar panels may not need to be cleaned as often as one believes, so evaluate how your solar panels are doing over the year.
Monitor how their energy production levels are and see if you can spot and discrepancies. Obviously, during the colder months, they are more likely to consume less energy compared to the summer months. Nonetheless, if you notice they are lacking consumption during bright, sunny days, then they may need to be cleaned.